MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — One of the new laws that will go into effect Wednesday was championed in memory of 8-year-old Alan Geisenkoetter Jr., who was stuck and killed in January by an intoxicated snowmobile driver.
“[Driver Eric Coleman] has left a dark spot in our family’s lives,” said Mary Beth Lonnee. Geisenkoetter’s grandmother. “My daughter and son in law are empty.”
Geisenkoetter’s death motivated lawmakers to close loopholes in the state’s DWI laws.
“The man who committed this crime had multiple DWIs, he had his license revoked previously, he had ignition interlock on his vehicle. But because all of these incidents happened in a car, his privileges to drive snowmobiles, ATVs and motor boats was untouched,” said Rep. Anne Neu.
Lawmakers pushed to revise Minnesota’s law, closing a loophole that let people keep their off-road driving privileges, even if they got a DWI in a motor vehicle.
Little Alan’s Law provides more consistent application of DWI laws, regardless of what type of vehicle is being driven.
Geisenkoetter’s family believes Coleman should not have been driving any motorized vehicle.
“In November, on little Alan’s birthday, that’s when [Coleman] had a third [DWI], and he injured a woman and he left the scene of the crime,” Lonnee said. “And then he got a snowmobile, and then he killed my grandson.”
Lonnee said she will push for stiffer consequences for anyone who drinks, operates a motorized vehicle and kills someone.
The Snowmobile Association of Minnesota said it had no idea there were loopholes in Minnesota DWI laws. They believe the new Little Alan’s Law will save lives by changing attitudes about drinking and operating motorized vehicles.
The law also bars a person who gets a DWI in any vehicle from driving a motorboat for a 90-day period between May 1 and October 31.